03 June 2013

Deep Dredge on Day 15 of the Southern Expedition

As Prof Peter and Meryl Theng head off for the dredge, I lament that so far, we have not had good photos or stories from the dredge. So I'm very grateful to Meryl who tweeted live from the dredge!
There were also day and night dives, a quick grab of humungous black sea urchins, and Kate and I checked out a lagoon at high tide. The Expedition was also being filmed.


The dredging team is back at the 'Singapore Deeps' (aka 'Singapore Hole' because it's not very long like say, a deep trench). The plan is to sample some of the deepest parts of Singapore's seabed. Meryl's tweet shows the scary shipping traffic that passes near the Deep Dredge site.
Photo by Meryl Theng
Razali gives the thumbs up for the dredge to proceed. It's a tricky thing to do a dredge safely and effectively. Fortunately, we are led by Dr Bertrand, who has dredged thousands of metres deep in various parts of the world.
Photo by Meryl Theng
Thanks to Meryl, we got a glimpse of the dredge sample from 100m deep in Singapore waters.
Photo by Meryl Theng
And here's the dredge sample from 200m!
Photo by Meryl Theng
When the dredge came back, I finally got a chance to sit down for a while and help to sort through the not-so-deep dredge.
There were lots of hydroids, bryozoans. Also some brittlestars, shrimps and even a nudibranch!
Earlier in the morning, Kate and I did a much shallower dredge...haha. We sampled the seagrassy area in the lagoon next to Base Camp.
I used a tiny net. We managed to find quite a lot of interesting things like shrimps, small fishes and even a snail that Siong Kiat hasn't seen for a while.
Here's a few of the small animals we found living in seagrasses. Amazing what you can find out if we look.
Today, a film crew is in to shoot us at work. It was threatening to rain, which made for a dramatic backdrop I thought.
Dr JC Mendoza and Dr Arthur Anker are going to demonstrate the 'yabby pump' for the film crew.
Prof Daphne gets down to the small details of finding sea anemones on the shore!
The sorting crew also get filmed.
JC is delighted to find a little creature in our sorting trays. We are so happy when the scientists find something they like after we sort out the sampling materials.
A beautiful large sea fan collected during the day dive. It will join the other lovely sponges at the new natural history museum of Singapore! The dive team also found the Janss' pipefish. I couldn't take a nice photo of it.
The film crew are morbidly fascinated by the piles of Long-spined black sea urchins that some of the guys at the Expedition found at Seringat-Kias. Particularly after I told them how horrible the spines are if they get into you.
Back in the preservation and photo station, lots going on as usual. Including taking photos of larger animals such as this stingray.
Pei Yan shared Yujie looking at the baby cuttlefishes that just hatched from their egg capsules. She is feeding them tiny 'pods'.
Photo by Heng Pei Yan.
We enjoyed a glorious sunset as we left for the evening. Pei Yan tweeted this and many other happenings including the talks.
I missed the night dive. Night dives have been productive so far and it would have been exciting to be there when they got back.
Photo by Meryl Theng.
Thanks to Meryl's tweets, we have a glimpse of the coolest catch of the night dive. A psychedelic patterned parrotfish!
Photo by Meryl Theng.
In the evening, there were also three fascinating mini-talks given by experts at the Southern Expedition. I've blogged about it separately here.

During the Expedition, I will try to post live updates on twitter as well as to facebook and the Mega Marine Survey facebook page. These will get less frequent as I start to do field work. I'm not very good at the smart phone in the field, and also, phone connections are not always strong enough to post regularly. So also check out tweets by participants using the hashtag for the Survey  #MegaMarine. These are consolidated on the Mega Marine Survey blog.

Volunteer sign up for the Southern Expedition are already closed due to limited places and early logistical arrangements needed for participation.

But no worries, you CAN still join the Survey! Lots of surveys will continue after the Expedition, just at a less frenzied rate. There will be lots of other opportunities for volunteers to participate in dredging, field surveys as well as laboratory sessions. To join the Mega Marine Survey, register your interest in this formand you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities. Also check out the FAQs for more about the Survey.

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